The prestigious Shiksha Bhushan Samman 2023 has been given to three luminaries who have dedicated their lives selflessly to education and social cause. Prof Meenakshi Jain from Delhi, Prof Kuldeep Chand Agnihotri from Himachal Pradesh and Dr. Sanjeevani Kelkar from Maharashtra have been awarded with the honour this year. The Shiksha Bhushan was conferred by the Sarkaryawah of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Shri Dattatreya Hosabale and spiritual guru of Parmarth Ashram, Rishikesh Swami Chidananda Muni at a grand function organised at the Vyas Hall at the Dr Hedgewar Smarak Samiti, Reshim Bagh, Nagpur on October 2, 2023. Organisation Secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (ABRSM) Shri Mahendra Kapoor, Co-Organisation Secretary Shri Guntha Laxman, Senior Vice President Shri Mahendra Kumar, Senior Vice President Dr. Nirmala Yadav were present during the award ceremony. The Shiksha Bhushan Samman is given every year by ABRSM and Shaikshik Foundation to three educationists, who have contributed in the field of education and social welfare by their extraordinary and remarkable work. ABRSM is an organisation that has been working relentlessly for the cause of teachers and education with a nationalist perspective for more than 30 years. The organisation has been contributing to the cause of education with the motto that the society has to foster teachers, teachers to dedicate themselves to the cause of education and education should be dedicated to nation building. ABRSM is an organisation of more than 12 lakh teachers engaged in teaching from pre-primary to university across 27 States. Since 2015, ABRSM has maintained a tradition of felicitating three educationists every year who have contributed with their inspirational and remarkable work for education and society with ‘Shiksha Bhushan Samman’ consisting of a silver plate, an amount of Rs one lakh and a certificate of appreciation. For this honour, educationists from across the country are selected and nominated, who have dedicated their entire lives to education and upliftment of society in the light of the Bharatiya tradition. The unique aspect of the honour is that the recipients do not fill an application to receive the award. Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh organises the entire ceremony including the monetary felicitation from the contribution collected from its members. During the ceremony, Sarkaryawah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale said that the Guru’s knowledge and his character acts like a gravitational force for his or her students. He said that becoming a guru is a continuous process that involves lifelong learning and hence a true teacher never gives up being a student. Shri Hosabale said that Bharat’s Guru Shishya tradition presents an example of education that strives to make the pupil a complete human being. He said that the goal of the National Education Policy is also inspired by our Bhartiya knowledge tradition but the success of the policy will depend on its execution. He was speaking as the Chief Guest of the award ceremony While giving blessings in the felicitation ceremony, Swami Chidanand Saraswati said that in our tradition, the importance is not of means but of spiritual practice. The future of India lies in the conservation of culture and nature. He called upon the teachers, present in the ceremony, to take inspiration from the personalities honoured with Shiksha Bhushan. Swami Chidanand Saraswati said that the whole world is today looking at Bharat for resolving the challenges being faced globally. The recipients of the award have contributed immensely in their respective fields. A doctor by profession, Dr Sanjeevani Kelkar has done exemplary work in developing leadership abilities of poor children of backward communities by instilling confidence, cleanliness habits, practising Karma Yoga and distributing educational materials amongst them. Dr Kelkar’s entire life has been dedicated in enabling children from educationally deprived sections to become good citizens by providing them education. Sanjivani Kelkar, while contributing in the empowerment of rural women, has provided education through local language (Marathi) to about 12,000 students in economically backward areas. She has also taken the initiative for construction of water tanks of a capacity to serve about 45,000 people in areas suffering from water shortage and also facilitated arrangements for filling water in these tanks. Dr Meenakshi Jain is a renowned political scientist and historian of mediaeval and colonial India. She has done exemplary work on Ram and Ayodhya, the reality of abolition of Sati practice in colonial India among many books written by her. Dr Jain did extraordinary work on the practice of Sati and concluded that the British government had exaggerated and misrepresented the practice of Sati in India. In 2020, the Government of India honoured Dr Jain with ‘Padmashree’, India’s fourth highest civilian award. Dr Meenakshi Jain has been continuously writing on Bhartiya vision of life, Bhartiya civilisation and Bhartiya way of thinking. Prof Kuldeep Chand Agnihotri is a renowned scholar who has written extensively on the history of border and hilly regions. He is a conscious litterateur, a strong seeker of Bhartiya culture and a nationalist thinker. Prof Agnihotri was imprisoned during the Emergency and has also led the ‘Liberation of Tibet from China’ movement as the convener of the India-Tibet Cooperation Forum. He has previously done exemplary work as the Chairperson of Ambedkar Chair in Himachal Pradesh University, Director of the University’s Center at Dharamshala and as Vice Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh Central University. Sixteen of his books have been published. Prof. Agnihotri has been awarded ‘Sahitya Bhushan Samman’ by the Hindi Institute of Uttar Pradesh, Samman for his literary services by the Central Hindi Institute Agra, ‘Vishnu Prabhakar Award’ by the Government of Madhya Pradesh for the book written on the literature and life of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and ‘Vishwa Hindi Samman’ by the Government of India and the Government of Fiji at the World Hindi Conference. The programme was attended by more than 600 ABRSM members teaching at schools and universities representing 24 states along with the Central Executive Committee members. All India Co-Convenor of Intellectual Cell of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Shri Sunil Bhai Mehta was also present. The program was hosted by Dr. Kalpana Pandey, President of Vidyapeeth Teachers Forum, Nagpur.

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